Is Mumbai Central station shutting down permanently?

Updated: Nov 23, 2017, 14:49 IST | Rajendra B. Aklekar

This viral message on whats app and other social media made life difficult for Western Railway over the weekend. The message started circulating on whats app initially and was forwarded into groups and on personal messages randomly

"From 1st. February 2018, Mumbai Central Railway Station will be closed permanently. All trains will be running from Dadar, Bandra and Borivli station."

This viral message on whats app and other social media made life difficult for Western Railway over the weekend. The message started circulating on whats app initially and was forwarded into groups and on personal messages randomly without any authentication or verification. No one had clue about its reality or facts and there were wild guesses going around trying to make sense of the message.

Mumbai central station to shut permanently
Mumbai Central railway terminus 

While some guessed that the Mumbai Metro Line 3 work was expected to begin at Mumbai Central and that it could lead to extensive digging and temporarily shutting down of the station, leading to shift of trains to Dadar to other stations, others felt that some new residential towers were expected to come up and railway land was required for it. Neither of this is true as Mumbai Metro work is already on outside the station and it will in no way affect the functioning of existing Mumbai Central station, except for some temporary exit/entry road diversions. The digging or tunnel boring will not be touching the existing Mumbai Central building though eventually both the stations will be linked up with an underground walkway. Also the theory of residential towers coming up at the site is equally rubbish.

Another serious-sounding theory in support of shutting down of Mumbai Central station speculated that the station land was on lease of 99 years and that the lease was expiring and the railways would have to surrender the land and hence they were shifting all trains to other stations.

This is equally hilarious as the existing Mumbai Central station was opened on the intervening midnight of December 31, 1930 and January 1, 1931 by the former Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway (BB&CIR), now Western Railway. The land lease ending, if any, would be of that period and not as early as 2018 and even though the land lease ends, public properties like these are safeguarded under various clauses.

The reality of all these rumours was revealed after a few twitter users asked Western Railway, referring to the latest timetable, why there were no trains starting from Mumbai Central (BCT) in the new timetable and were there any plans to shut down Mumbai Central station.

The Western Railway then made it clear in their official clarification that as informed earlier too, Western Railway has decided to change the station code of Mumbai Central main (BCT) and Mumbai Central local (BCL) with new station code as MMCT from February 1, 2018. Accordingly, the new assigned code has been defined in all PRS Centers and IRCTC website with effect from 1st February, 2018.

"Many who are not aware of this change must have started panicking after not seeing the regular code BCT in the timetable and misunderstood that WR is suspending services from Mumbai Central. Assuming this, some must have framed messages, citing the timetable which then went viral on social media," a senior official said.

The man who bore the brunt of the rumors was Western Railway's Chief Public Relations Officer Ravinder Bhakar who had a field day handling all the rumours. "We appeal to public not to believe in any floating messages, but always verify with official social medai accounts or websites," he said.


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